Do you set New Years Resolutions every year? Do you actually keep them? And how many relate to body image?
Why do we feel the need to set a goal on the 1st of every year, particularly one around our bodies? Why do we tell ourselves that “this year I’ll be good” or “this year I’ll lose that last 5kgs”? Why does a diet always start on a Monday and on the 1st of the year or the 1st of the month? Why oh why do we put so much pressure on ourselves to ‘fit in’ to the norm.
I personally hate NY resolutions and I get quite angry at the all the diet culture advertisements that start running this time of the year. Studies show that only 25% of people stay committed to their resolutions after 30 days and only 8% accomplish them. (This Year, Don't Set New Year's Resolutions (forbes.com). We are better off setting goals that we want to accomplish and then breaking these goals down into achievable steps.
I believe that if you have a goal that you want to achieve, then start today! If you want to write a book, run a marathon, learn to dance, learn another language; don’t wait for Monday, don’t wait for the 1st of the month or the 1st of the year. Just DO IT! Set yourself realistic and achievable goals, give yourself a realistic timeframe, break it down and work on it step by step and most importantly know your why.
In 2012 I wanted to run a marathon. My why was because my beloved Dad was sick, and we were told he had about 12 months left in him. He was a long-distance runner when he was young, and I had recently started running to cope with the stress of his illness. I had already run 14kms and a half marathon and I decided I wanted Dad to see me finish a marathon before he died. As a little girl Dad would love to watch me run at my school sports carnivals and he would sit on the side yelling ‘Go Little Legs’ as I flew past. I wanted to hear that one more time. I found a marathon training plan online and I chose the Perth Marathon as my target. I signed up for the race and I put all my training runs into my diary. I put Dad’s running medals on display to inspire me to keep going.
It wasn’t easy. I believe that hardest part of a marathon is the training. The early morning runs when you just want to sleep in, trying to train in 40-degree heat, all the ‘add-on’ training that you don’t read about – physio visits, massages, stretching etc. It takes a time commitment, and it doesn’t come easy. Getting to the start line is most of the work.
My first marathon is a fabulous memory. I won’t lie and tell you the whole run was fabulous because there were moments I cursed myself for being so silly as to sign up and run 42.2kms. It was warm, I got burnt, and my feet hurt. As I came around the bend towards the finish line with 42km in the bank, I saw Dad sitting on a bench with the biggest smile on his face, “Go Little Legs!” he yelled, and I crossed the finish line crying. Dad died 4 months later. I still cannot run past that bench along the swan river without tears coming to my eyes.
Setting a goal is all about the why. If you want 2020 to be the year that you lose weight – why? Do you want to be healthier, run farther or are you subscribing to the popular diet culture that tells us that skinny is healthy? Do you want to write a book – Why? Do you want to learn a new language – Why? Knowing your why is so important. It will keep you on track, it will keep you focussed, and it will make it all worth it. I have since gone on to run over 25 ultra-marathons and every one of them had a ‘why’.
What is your ‘why’ going to be this year and what exciting things will it lead to?